It Has Potential

User Rating: 7.5 | Monster Tale DS
So let us take a look:

In this game, you control a girl who can shoot stuff up with a magical band and has a cute monster companion who can evolve, learn new techniques and the like. While it does sound like a Pokemon-Metroid mash-up at first, it will feel closer to a metroid-castlevania-megaman mix.

It plays off the right notes in the basic areas. A cute soundtrack, clean graphics, decent controls and a decent challenge. The twist is your monster companion which is an ally on-screen and off-screen. Your cute little companion can apparently only fight on the same screen as you for a certain length of time displayed as a health bar which depletes over time, when it uses a skill, or when it takes damage. When that bar is empty or you feel like giving your pet a rest, you can send it to the lower screen where it recharges its life, uses items, activates switches and can even fight enemies. This interesting mix opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of boss fights and puzzles. But, this is where it dulls down.

Boss fights, while a decent challenge, don't go beyond the typical action game. Combat involves switching between melee and ranges attacks since melee attacks fill up the bar which lets you use your energy blasts. And that's pretty much it. Your pet's limited time with you doesn't make it entirely useful and you only need lower-screen aid for one attack per boss. There is also a lack of big fights. And that leads us to-

Length. This game didn't take too long to finish. You spend a good time backtracking. A good, long time doing so. Sure we do that a lot in Metroid and Castlevania, but your character here isn't too fast and shortcuts/portals aren't created as you progress the story.

Now, the part with the most potential: Character Growth. Alright, so the girl first.

She gets power-ups and you can buy upgrades for her! The thing is, upgrades take away the challenge or create the need to grind. It's just not too fun and the prices sky-rocket quickly. Power-ups come too fast as well. In between a boss, you get an average of two crucial power-ups which are only needed to access new areas and sadly, are not mandatory to use during boss fights.

The Monster. An excellent idea really, but you just can't do much. It gains experience in combat to level up and using certain items will unlock different forms and each form can learn a passive trait and a special skill (some more than others). But much like the girl, things happen to fast. Your pet gains new trees after each boss fight before the third. Despite the number of skills you can use, you probably won't use more than two of them at a certain point in the game.

So to sum it up, this game is a nice fun pick-me-up. While it does have its flaws, it's something of great potential that i wouldn't be afraid of playing the sequel of. It's biggest achievement though is giving new-gen gamers a taste of some old-school difficulty.... Not a lot, but enough to maybe pop-up one game over.